Favoritism Has Its Place

[Updated from the archives.]


Have you ever felt the sting of someone playing favorites and leaving you on the outside? It might have happened in your family among siblings, or in school with a teacher, or at work with your boss.

It doesn’t feel very good, but it still seems to happen a lot. And when it comes to the workplace, you’d think that the needs of a business would discourage playing favorites, not encourage it.

favorite-employeesNot so.

I read a business article that argued in favor of bosses playing favorites in the work force, but cautioned:

“What you’re trying to do is to get the other employees to raise their level of performance, not raise their level of suspicion.”

It turns out that what they mean by playing favorites is showing that good performance is favored and leads to good things for the employee. That makes a lot of sense in the workplace.

That’s not how it works in God’s kingdom, though, “For God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11.)  As Peter told Cornelius:

 I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. (Acts 10:34-36.)

John explained:

Whoever has the Son has life … . And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:12, 20.)

That’s it. Everyone in God’s kingdom has life eternal by virtue of being in the Son, meaning it’s because of Jesus and not because of us. Since Jesus is the eternally beloved Son of God the Father, and because we are in the Son for all eternity as well, we are as favored as can be.

God may not play favorites, but he certainly loves the favored ones.

Jesus Blessing the Children, Bernard Plockhorst (1825-1888) (Wikipedia)

Jesus Blessing the Children
Bernard Plockhorst (1825-1888)


Questions to ponder: Do you sometimes wonder whether God seems to love others more than you? When is that thought most likely to crop up?


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11 Responses to Favoritism Has Its Place

  1. Mary Anne says:

    Do you sometimes wonder whether God seems to love others more than you? When is that thought most likely to crop up?

    ALL . . . THE . . . TIME. Especially in light of what happened to Mom. There just seems to have been so much unanswered prayer in so many times of my life, and then when I read things about how God would do something “for David’s sake” etc. Well. You get the drift. And this time of year it’s really hard because everyone expects you to be all happy happy joy joy!

    Bed. Wrong side. This morning. Starring Mary Anne as the Grinch. 😉 Or maybe Ebenezer Scrooge.

    • Tim says:

      You can Grinch here at my train wreck all you like, Mary Anne! I know that you’ve been through some hard times, and the Bible doesn’t answer the question why you are hit harder than others. All I know is that God promises to be with us as we go through it. I pray he brings you people alongside you to help bear the load. (And I hope you are surrounded by people who don’t put any of that happy-happy-joy-joy nonsense on you.)

      • Mary Anne says:

        I think one thing that’s aggravating about it all is that I’ve been reading lately in Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, and one thing you hear over and over is that “King So-And-So did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and the Lord prospered him in all he did.” Or the flip side: “He did evil in the sight of the Lord” and first thing you know the king is dead, long live the king. It makes it seem so cut and dried that if you do right, you do well and God is with you. As opposed to now, where you can do right and still have so many things go wrong, and the only thing to do is remind yourself that this world is not our home.

        Yes, I know we have a New Covenant now, and live under grace. And there’s always the example of Job who DID do right and still had terrible things happen. But sometimes things seem to be a lot simpler in the Old Testament.

        Or God showing up in the middle of the night and telling Solomon, “Ask me for what you want and I’ll give it to you.” Man, what I could do with an offer like that! 😎

  2. Laura Droege says:

    I’m so glad that God’s kingdom doesn’t work like the workplace; I wouldn’t be a part of the kingdom because of my appalling lack of job experience!

    I usually start to wonder if God loves other people more than me when I’m depressed. It comes along with the “it’s not fair!” screams in my heart: “It’s not fair that (fill in the blank) happened to me. God, what are you THINKING?!” But then when I’m stable, I look back and wonder why I didn’t see that I currently have so many good things in my life (and even the bad things are manageable) and I’ve had good things happen in my life (and even the bad events weren’t as bad as they could’ve been). It’s like the difference between these two thoughts:

    “God, why did you make me bipolar?! Nobody else has to deal with this!”
    (which is a totally untrue statement and even in my worst moments, I know I’m lying to myself)


    “God, why do I get to have health insurance and an understanding family and the money to buy the medication I need, when so many other mentally ill people don’t? So does that mean you love me more than them? Of course not!”

    Comparing ourselves to other people is usually unhelpful!

    • Tim says:

      The way you lay out the contrasting thoughts and questions is really helpful, Laura. “Why this and not that” can switch so quickly to “Why that and not this”, and those questions all pale in comparison to “God, I don’t know why you would want me, but I’m so thankful you do!”

      • Ruth says:

        After many years of things good and bad, the one thing that I return to is; why not me? Often, it’s not about me it’s about the other person. When my youngest son at 22 was in ICU in an induced coma for 7 days due to severe asthma, I looked at him one day and nearly cracked when I thought of the life he would miss, and never experience, and how i would never hug him again or hear him call me Hobbit, or pat me on the head and and muss up my hair.
        God hit me square between the eyes with the one thought that brought me back to reality and enabled me to cope…it’s not about me…
        This is not any sort of a critical comment, Heaven forbid, it’s how God met me and my need. I do plenty of praying that contains a grizzle or negative emotion, but He has heard it all before, nothing we can say is new, and, frustratingly prayers seem unanswered, but, peace only seems to come after an emotional dust-up and a time with Him. Yes, he is still here, 24, noisy, big, funny, compassionate and cheeky, a little shaken in his security of faith at times, but still soldiering on. The other son, 6 months earlier, nearly the same but no coma,he was 24. So blessed really, have many problems health, financial, older relative and so it goes…but I think I’ve learnt never to look for the expected from above!
        God has been getting an earful from me recently, no lightning strike, just Love and help.
        Thanks in large to our lovely, kind- hearted Tim! 🙂
        I specialize in rambling!

  3. Jeannie says:

    Thanks for another encouraging post, Tim. (The comments are great, too.) It made me think of something I read in Glennon Melton’s book “Carry On, Warrior” recently, on the subject of pride and humility (I’m paraphrasing here): We can be proud (in a positive sense) because we are a child of God; we can be humble because everyone else is a child of God, too.

  4. Pastor Bob says:

    The first line – can be defended (we learn)
    The last line was awesome (you knew that)

    Going from one to first to the last (alpha to Omega) well done.

    ps my wife’s home country has two schedules for school. Our traditional agrarian calendar, and a calendar similar to what you describe. It can be “fun” changing schools.

    Blessings and merry Christmas!!

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